Get set for the next round of Tigermania.
With the news that Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS) will return to actively playing again in the Hero World Challenge, which his charity hosts, beginning Dec. 1-4 in the Bahamas, has his fans excited. He will also be part of the seventh version of the Match, this time with playing partner Rory McIlroy (TaylorMade TP5X) and the tandem of Jordan Spieth (Titleist Pro V1x) and Justin Thomas (Titleist Pro V1x) on December 10 in Florida. He will also play with his son, Charlie, in the 36-hole PNC Championship, December 19-20 in Florida. The tournament is fathers and their children. So that’s a lot of Woods to end 2022. Coincidentally, 2022 is the year of the Water Tiger.
Inasmuch as there is excitement about Tiger, his son is starting to cultivate his own following, largely because he shows the same prodigious talent as his father and a similar swing. He turns 14 in February.
The last time the public saw Tiger in a meaningful tournament was The Open in July, in which he failed to make the cut. He took some time off to be ready for The Open because it was the 150th edition at the Old Course, St. Andrews. There was so much expectation but playing in the event and making it to the final round was going to be a stretch. If he had made the cut, that would have been a significant achievement.
But you can be sure there will be plenty of eyes for all the events he’s playing in next month, even though none of them will put any significant pressure on him. All the players in his charity event play the four rounds because there is no cut. For the most part it is a fun event in which some of the best players in the world are involved because of their level of respect and reverence for Woods.
Because of LIV, professional men’s golf will never be the same, but the PGA Tour has Woods as its main asset. And through the alliance of Woods and McIlroy, most of the meaningful players are still on the PGA Tour. Golf fans enjoyed a treat in 2022 watching McIlroy turn back time with some incredible play. It will be interesting to see him and Woods, who formed a great tandem off the course when LIV took dead aim at the PGA Tour and several key players, teeing it up for charity in The Match.
I will be watching it because I remember the first time the event took place and featured Woods and Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X). Woods appeared to be uptight the whole time, certainly not as comfortable and animated as Mickelson, who seemed in his element. The fact it required eight extra holes to decide the outcome, which ended with Mickelson winning in limited light because it took so long to conclude, was a success. I honestly thought Mickelson had created an interesting, fun event and had a place for himself in broadcasting for one of the golf networks or a goodwill ambassador for the PGA Tour.
We all know that won’t be the case. Mickelson grabbed the lucrative money from LIV and forever changed his reputation among his peers and the golf world in general.